oversight

Progress and Problems of Urban and Transportation Planning

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-11-19.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                                              Congressional____.-.




Progress And Problems Of Urban
And Transportation Planning B,                                  774 182




Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of Transportation




BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL,
OF THE UNITED STATES



                            ~-ti~i~ieso19,                         97 1
              COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
                         WASHINGTON, D.C.   20548




B-174182




To the President of the Senate and the
Speaker of the House of Representatives

       This is our report on the progress and problems of
urban and transportation planning. The activities discussed
in the report are administered by the Department of Housing
and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation.

       Our review was made pursuant to the Budget and Ac-
counting Act, 1921 (31 U.S.C. 53), and the Accounting and Au-
diting Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 67).

       Copies of this report are being sent to the Director, Of-
fice of Management and Budget; the Secretary of Housing and
Urban Development; and the Secretary of Transportation.




                                  Comptroller General
                                  of the United States




                    50TH ANNIVERSARY 1921-1971
 COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S                  PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS OF URBAN AND
 REPORT TO THE CONGRESS                 TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
                                        Department of Housing and Urban Development
                                        Department of Transportation B-174182

 DIGEST


 WHY THE REVIEW WAS MADE

        Urban and transportation planning is being carried on, with Federal sup-
        port, in every major metropolitan area.
        During fiscal year 1970 about $50 million was appropriated to the Depart-
        ment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for comprehensive areawide
        urban planning. During the same period, about $60 million was appropriated
        to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for comprehensive transportation
        planning.
        Because of the legislative requirements, the significant Federal investment
        in urban and transportation planning, and the possible variations in types
        and quality of planning, the General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed the
        effectiveness of such planning.
        GAO concentrated its review on urban and transportation planning for the
        Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area because of its size and advanced plan-
        ning process. Because of its size the Detroit area could be expected to
        have complex urban problems common to other metropolitan areas.
        To gain a broader perspective of urban planning, GAO also made limited in-
        quiries into the planning structures of 15 other metropolitan areas. Fur-
        ther GAO considered the results of a current DOT evaluation of the effec-
        tiveness of urban transportation planning nationwide.


FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

        Detroit has a continuing planning process which has made, and should con-
        tinue to make, some contribution to urban growth by developing plans for
        land use and for transportation systems.

        Because of the difficulty in getting numerous independent governmental
        units to agree on a master plan, however, it appears that the planning
        process will not have a major impact in directing future area development
        toward the most desirable growth patterns. (See p. 8.)
        Detroit's urban planning situation may be indicative of problems confront-
        ing many other major urban areas with similar complex governmental struc-
        tures. (See p. 18.)


                                                            NOV. 19,1 971
Tear Sheet                               1
Metropolitan Detroit situation

Of the 220 independent units of government in the six-county Detroit metro-
politan area, 76 are members of the Southeast Michigan Council of Govern-
ments. The council directs urban and transportation planning in the De-
troit metropolitan area. From July 1965 to June 1970, the council and its
predecessor directed projects costing $5.4 million, including $3.5 million
in Federal funds. (See p. 11.)

The Detroit planning effort was aimed at producing a coordinated plan to
guide future land use and to develop a balanced transportation system and
at developing a planning process and structure to assist in the implemen-
tation of the plan. (See p. 9.)
In 1968 the council developed five alternative plans for the area, offering
varying degrees of control over land use. The council, however, could not
agree on any one plan because the members were concerned about the loss of
local government authority. (See p. 12.)

In August 1969 the council's planners developed a compromise transportation
and land-use plan. (See p. 15.)

As of October 1971 the compromise plan had not been approved as the official
master plan and was being revised. The council has no authority to compel
member communities to agree or to comply with the plan. In addition, not
all the government units which would be affected by the planned urban de-
velopment are members of the council. If the council members reach agree-
ment on the plan, its implementation could be hampered or blocked by the
views of, or lack of support by, the nonmember units. (See p. 16.)
Local government officials agree with GAO that, although the planning
process has made, and will continue to make, some contribution to urban
growth, it appears that the process will not have a major impact in direct-
ing future development toward the most desirable growth patterns. (See
p. 17.)

Urban pZanning nationwide

GAO, in its limited review of the governmental structure of 15 other metro-
politan areas, found that the situation in Detroit was similar to that of
many other metropolitan areas.
Regional planners are confronted with many units of government sharing dif-
fering degrees of responsibility and authority for transportation and land
use. From this structure arises the problem of getting many independent
governmental units to agree on a master plan which may benefit the entire
region but which may be detrimental to the individual government units.
(See p. 18.)

DOT has conducted a nationwide study of urban transportation planning and
has tentatively concluded that, although the planning process has produced




                                  2
         substantial benefits, it has not promoted the use of transportation sys-
         tems as a means of improving the quality of urban life and that a new con-
         cept of urban transportation planning, emphasizing transportation systems
         as an urban development tool, is needed. (See p. 19.)

         Congressional intent for urban planning

        In December 1970 the Congress first spelled out its expectations for   urban
        development. It amended the Housing Act of 1954 to require that the    Sec-
        retary of Housing and Urban Development encourage the formulation of   plans
        and programs for effectively guiding and controlling major decisions   as to
        where urban growth should take place. (See p. 6.)


 RECOMMENDATIONS OR SUGGESTIONS

         GAO proposed that HUD and DOT revise their guidelines, to set forth more
         clearly the urban planning objectives required by the 1970 legislation
         and to assist planning agencies in devising methods to overcome local op-
         position to areawide plans. (See p. 21.)


 AGENCY ACTIONS AND UNRESOLVED ISSUES

         HUD agreed that improvements in the planning process and implementation of
         urban development plans were desirable. Several policy changes were in-
         cluded in the 1971 legislation proposed to the Congress.
         DOT was revising its instructions for transportation planning to reflect
         the objectives set forth in the 1970 Federal-Aid Highway Act. It was also
         considering ways to help overcome local opposition to areawide plans.
         (See p. 21.)
         HUD stated that the planning efforts supported by DOT and HUD had a much
         broader impact than that indicated by the report. DOT and HUD planning
         assistance programs support the areawide efforts required under Federal
         programs as prerequisites for Federal grants.

         GAO recognizes that the awarding of Federal grants in consonance with, or
         to help implement, areawide plans is better than the fragmented approach
         of programs in prior years. The lack of an approved area plan, however,
         tends to diminish the effectiveness of Federal grants for the area. Con-
         versely an approved plan tends to increase the effectiveness of Federal
         grants. (See p. 24.)

         DOT stated that GAO's central point that urban planning had little impact
         in directing areas toward the most desirable growth patterns was highly
         controversial, considering the lack of consensus within a metropolitan
         area of what desirable growth patterns really were. GAO recognizes this




Tear Sheet                                  3
     controversy. Unless agreement can be reached by the people of an area
     on the most desirable growth trend, the work of areawide planning agencies
     will not have a major impact on the future development of the area. (See
     p. 25.)
     Other issues on which HUD and DOT commented are discussed on pages 21 to 25.1

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS

     The Congress has under consideration several legislative proposals relating
     to urban and transportation planning. In view of the character and magni-
     tude of urban planning problems--and their solutions--this report contains
     information which may be useful to the Congress.




                                      4
                         Contents
                                                          Page

DIGEST                                                      1

CHAPTER

   1       FEDERAL ROLE IN URBAN PLANNING                   5

   2       URBAN AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING IN DETROIT
           METROPOLITAN AREA                                8
               Urban planning has little impact in
                 directing area development toward
                 most desirable growth patterns           12
                   Development and refinement of
                     numerous plans for land use
                     and for transportation systems       12
                   Difficulties encountered in ob-
                     taining agreement on a single
                     plan for urban development           16
                   Views of local officials on impact
                     of urban planning                    16

   3       URBAN AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING NATIONWIDE   18
               Inquiries into governmental structures
                 in other metropolitan areas              18
               Evaluations of urban planning              19

   4       AGENCY COMMENTS                                 21

   5       CONCLUSIONS                                     26

   6       SCOPE OF REVIEW                                 28

APPENDIX

   I       Letter dated June 21, 1971, from the Depart-
             ment of Transportation to the General Ac-
             counting Office                               31

  II       Letter dated May 27, 1971, from the Depart-
             ment of Housing and Urban Development to
             the General Accounting Office                 33
APPENDIX                                                  Page

  III      Principal officials responsible for Adminis-
             tration of activities discussed in this
             report                                        36

                         ABBREVIATIONS

DOT        Department of Transportation

GAO      General Accounting Office

HUD      Department of Housing and Urban Development

SEMCOG   Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S                PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS OF URBAN AND
REPORT TO THE CONGRESS               TRANSPORTATION PLANNING
                                     Department of Housing and Urban Development
                                     Department of Transportation B-174182

DIGEST


WHY THE REVIEW WAS MADE

     Urban and transportation planning is being carried on, with Federal sup-
     port, in every major metropolitan area.

     During fiscal year 1970 about $50 million was appropriated to the Depart-
     ment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for comprehensive areawide
     urban planning. During the same period, about $60 million was appropriated
     to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for comprehensive transportation
     planning.
     Because of the legislative requirements, the significant Federal investment
     in urban and transportation planning, and the possible variations in types
     and quality of planning, the General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed the
     effectiveness of such planning.

     GAO concentrated its review on urban and transportation planning for the
     Detroit, Michigan, metropolitan area because of its size and advanced plan-
     ning process. Because of its size the Detroit area could be expected to
     have complex urban problems common to other metropolitan areas.

     To gain a broader perspective of urban planning, GAO also made limited in-
     quiries into the planning structures of 15 other metropolitan areas. Fur-
     ther GAO considered the results of a current DOT evaluation of the effec-
     tiveness of urban transportation planning nationwide.


FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

     Detroit has a continuing planning process which has made, and should con-
     tinue to make, some contribution to urban growth by developing plans for
     land use and for transportation systems.

     Because of the difficulty in getting numerous independent governmental
     units to agree on a master plan, however, it appears that the planning
     process will not have a major impact in directing future area development
     toward the most desirable growth patterns. (See p. 8.)
     Detroit's urban planning situation may be indicative of problems confront-
     ing many other major urban areas with similar complex governmental struc-
     tures. (See p. 18.)
MetropoZitan Detroit situation

Of the 220 independent units of government in the six-county Detroit metro-
politan area, 76 are members of the Southeast Michigan Council of Govern-
ments. The council directs urban and transportation planning in the De-
troit metropolitan area. From July 1965 to June 1970, the council and its
predecessor directed projects costing $5.4 million, including $3.5 million
in Federal funds. (See p. 11.)
The Detroit planning effort was aimed at producing a coordinated plan to
guide future land use and to develop a balanced transportation system and
at developing a planning process and structure to assist in the implemen-
tation of the plan. (See p. 9.)
In 1968 the council developed five alternative plans for the area, offering
varying degrees of control over land use. The council, however, could not
agree on any one plan because the members were concerned about the loss of
local government authority. (See p. 12.)
In August 1969 the council's planners developed a compromise transportation
and land-use plan. (See p. 15.)
As of October 1971 the compromise plan had not been approved as the official
master plan and was being revised. The council has no authority to compel
member communities to agree or to comply with the plan. In addition, not
all the government units which would be affected by the planned urban de-
velopment are members of the council. If the council members reach agree-
ment on the plan, its implementation could be hampered or blocked by the
views of, or lack of support by, the nonmember units. (See p. 16.)
Local government officials agree with GAO that, although the planning
process has made, and will continue to make, some contribution to urban
growth, it appears that the process will not have a major impact in direct-
ing future development toward the most desirable growth patterns. (See
p. 17.)
Urban planning nationwide

GAO, in its limited review of the governmental structure of 15 other metro-
politan areas, found that the situation in Detroit was similar to that of
many other metropolitan areas.
Regional planners are confronted with many units of government sharing dif-
fering degrees of responsibility and authority for transportation and land
use. From this structure arises the problem of getting many independent
governmental units to agree on a master plan which may benefit the entire
region but which may be detrimental to the individual government units.
(See p. 18.)
DOT has conducted a nationwide study of urban transportation planning and
has tentatively concluded that, although the planning process has produced




                                  2
     substantial benefits, it has not promoted the use of transportation sys-
     tems as a means of improving the quality of urban life and that a new con-
     cept of urban transportation planning, emphasizing transportation systems
     as an urban development tool, is needed. (See p. 19.)
     CongressionaZ intent for urban pZanning

     In December 1970 the Congress first spelled out its expectations for   urban
     development. It amended the Housing Act of 1954 to require that the    Sec-
     retary of Housing and Urban Development encourage the formulation of   plans
     and programs for effectively guiding and controlling major decisions   as to
     where urban growth should take place. (See p. 6.)

RECOMMENDATIONS OR SUGGESTIONS

     GAO proposed that HUD and DOT revise their guidelines, to set forth more
     clearly the urban planning objectives required by the 1970 legislation
     and to assist planning agencies in devising methods to overcome local op-
     position to areawide plans. (See p. 21.)

AGENCY ACTIONS AND UNRESOLVED ISSUES

     HUD agreed that improvements in the planning process and implementation of
     urban development plans were desirable. Several policy changes were in-
     cluded in the 1971 legislation proposed to the Congress.
     DOT was revising its instructions for transportation planning to reflect
     the objectives set forth in the 1970 Federal-Aid Highway Act. It was also
     considering ways to help overcome local opposition to areawide plans.
     (See p. 21.)
     HUD stated that the planning efforts supported by DOT and HUD had a much
     broader impact than that indicated by the report. DOT and HUD planning
     assistance programs support the areawide efforts required under Federal
     programs as prerequisites for Federal grants.
     GAO recognizes that the awarding of Federal grants in consonance with, or
     to help implement, areawide plans is better than the fragmented approach
     of programs in prior years. The lack of an approved area plan, however,
     tends to diminish the effectiveness of Federal grants for the area. Con-
     versely an approved plan tends to increase the effectiveness of Federal
     grants. (See p. 24.)
     DOT stated that GAO's central point that urban planning had little impact
     in directing areas toward the most desirable growth patterns was highly
     controversial, considering the lack of consensus within a metropolitan
     area of what desirable growth patterns really were. GAO recognizes this




                                       3
     controversy. Unless agreement can be reached by the people of an area
     on the most desirable growth trend, the work of areawide planning agencies
     will not have a major impact on the future development of the area. (See
     p. 25.)
     Other issues on which HUD and DOT commented are discussed on pages 21 to 25.

MATTERS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS

     The Congress has under consideration several legislative proposals relating
     to urban and transportation planning. In view of the character and magni-
     tude of urban planning problems--and their solutions--this report contains
     information which may be useful to the Congress.




                                      4
                         CHAPTER 1

              FEDERAL ROLE IN URBAN PLANNING

     Planning of Federal programs is of vital concern to
the Congress. Of particular significance--because of the
impact on the quality of urban life--is the need for plan-
ning of urban growth and development, including transporta-
tion systems. Underscoring its awareness of the need for
urban and transportation planning, the Congress, in fiscal
year 1970, authorized $110 million to be made available in
the form of grants by the Department of Housing and Urban
Development and the Department of Transportation for this
purpose.

     Urban planning involves the process of studying prac-
tically all aspects of where and how people live and work--
community attitudes, travel habits, desires for the future,
and the use of land in achieving individual and community
goals. This planning, with a projected time frame of about
20 years, includes the preparation of master plans or gen-
eral development plans on the

     -- pattern and intensity of land use,

     -- effective development and utilization of human and
        natural resources, and

     -- development of transportation systems that will serve
        the needs of the people.

     With Federal support urban planning, including areawide
land-use and transportation planning, is being carried on
in every major metropolitan area. Planning agencies, usu-
ally referred to as metropolitan or regional planning com-
missions, have been established in most metropolitan areas
to carry out this planning. Local communities within the
metropolitan areas also make plans to be carried out within
their own boundaries. This type of planning, however, was
not included as part of our review and is not discussed in
this report.




                              5
      The Housing Act of 1954 (40 U.S.C. 461) and the
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 (23 U.S.C. 134) have pro-
vided impetus and significant funds for metropolitan plan-
ning.

     The Housing Act of 1954 is administered by HUD. The
act authorizes planning grants--$50 million appropriated
for planning in fiscal year 1970--to State and local gov-
ernments to (1) assist in solving planning problems, in-
cluding those resulting from the increasing concentration
of population in urban areas, (2) facilitate comprehensive
planning for urban and rural development, including coordi-
nated transportation systems, on a continuing basis, and
(3) encourage such governments to establish and improve
planning staffs and techniques on an areawide basis. Of
this $50 million, about $20 million is for metropolitan
planning and the remainder is for a variety of State, local,
and special area planning.

     The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 is administered by
DOT. The act authorizes planning grants--for which $60 mil-
lion was appropriated in fiscal year 1970--for the develop-
ment of long-range highway plans and programs. These are
coordinated with plans for other forms of transportation
and give consideration to probable effects on the future de-
velopment of urban areas of more than 50,000 population.
The act provides that, after July 1, 1965, no highway proj-
ects for such urban areas can be approved unless the proj-
ects are based on a continuing comprehensive transportation
planning process carried on cooperatively by States and
local communities.

     Before December 1970 the expected results of urban
planning had not been explicitly defined in congressional
legislation or in HUD and DOT guidelines. Without specific
planning objectives, urban planners have been free to de-
velop plans ranging from probable growth trends in the event
present trends continue to probable growth trends in the
event a controlled growth pattern is followed.
     In December 1970 the Congress amended the Housing Act
of 1954 and more explicitly defined what was to be achieved
through urban planning. In addition to continuing the exist-
ing planning requirements, the act, as amended, states that
the Secretary, HUD:
                             6
     "*** shall encourage the formulation of plans and
     programs which will include the studies, criteria,
     standards, and implementing procedures necessary
     for effectively guiding and controlling major de-
     cisions as to where growth should take place ***."
     (Underscoring supplied.)

     At the same time the Congress amended the Federal-Aid
Highway Act of 1962 by requiring that local views on trans-
portation projects in urban areas be considered. The act,
as amended,states that:

     "No highway project may be constructed in any ur-
     ban area of fifty thousand population or more un-
     less the responsible public officials of such ur-
     ban area(s) *** have been consulted and their
     views considered with respect to the corridor,
     the location and the design of the project."

      To gain insight into, and make observations on, the ef-
fectiveness of urban planning in improving the quality of
urban life, we reviewed the planning activities--land-use
and transportation planning--in the Detroit metropolitan
area. We selected Detroit because (1) it has an advanced
planning process, (2) it is one of the largest metropolitan
areas in the Nation, ranking fifth in population in the 1970
census, and (3) it can be expected, because of its size, to
have the complex urban problems (urban sprawl and inadequate
transportation systems) common to other major metropolitan
areas.




                             7
                         CHAPTER 2

             URBAN AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING

               IN DETROIT METROPOLITAN AREA

     The Detroit metropolitan area has a continuing planning
process which has made, and should continue to make, some
contribution to urban growth--development of plans for land
use and for transportation systems. It appears, however,
that the process will not have a major impact in directing
future area development toward what areawide planners be-
lieve to be the most desirable growth patterns necessary for
significantly improving the overall quality of urban life.
The primary cause of this situation is the inherent diffi-
culty in getting numerous independent political units to
agree on a plan of action which, although beneficial to the
area as a whole, may be detrimental to the aims of some in-
dividual units.

     This situation is contrary to the recently stated in-
tent of the Congress for the future role of urban planning--
effectively guiding and controlling major decisions as to
where growth should take place.

     The benefits of areawide planning and the need for
transportation and land-use plans have long been recognized
in the Detroit metropolitan area. Since 1947 a regional
planning commission--financed principally by voluntary con-
tributions from the counties in the region and by Federal
funds--has carried on a continuing planning program in the
Detroit area. Examples of the commission's efforts are:

     --Development in June 1957 of a regional land-use plan
       showing what the region would look like by 1970.

     --Development in April 1958 of a regional highway plan
       to meet expected needs through 1980.

     On July 1, 1965, prompted by the requirements in the
Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, the regional planning com-
mission started a transportation and land-use study encom-
passing the southeastern Michigan counties of Wayne, Oakland,


                             8
Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston.   (See
map on p. 10.)

     The study was designed to

     --produce a coordinated plan to guide future land use
       and the development of a balanced transportation
       system to serve the needs of the metropolitan region
       in 1990, and

     --develop a planning process and structure to assist
       in implementation of the plan and continue to make
       the evaluations, refinements, adjustments, and pro-
       jections necessary to keep the plan current.

     In January 1968, before the completion of the study,
a newly formed Southeast Michigan Council of Governments
(SEMCOG) took over the activities and projects of the re-
gional planning commission. SEMCOG is a voluntary associa-
tion of local governments, covering a six-county area in
southeast Michigan, concerned with fostering a cooperative
effort in resolving problems, policies, and plans that are
common and regional in nature.

     In addition to areawide transportation and land-use
planning, SEMCOG is involved in planning for other areawide
activities, such as health, education, and safety. It also
is responsible for reviewing and commenting on local com-
munity requests for Federal grants to ensure that they are
in consonance with the areawide planning process, and it
works closely with the local member agencies to help imple-
ment such plans.

     Although there were 220 local governmental units in
the SEMCOG area, as of March 1971 only 76 had chosen to be-
come members and to provide financial contributions. In-
cluded in the 76 were all county governments, some of the
largest city governments--including the city of Detroit--
and some of the local governmental agencies having authority
to implement certain aspects of areawide planning. For ex-
ample, an areawide recreational authority is a member and
works closely with SEMCOG in helping to attain long-range
recreation needs of the area. In addition, 31 school dis-
tricts are members and provide financial support.


                              9
                                  STATE OF MICHIGAN




                                                                                     ,11/-Detroit




                                                                                 M
                                                    Area covered by transportation
                                                          and land use study


Map provided by Southeast Michigan Council of Governments




                                              10
     The transportation and land-use study was officially
completed in June 1970 at a cost of $5.4 million--shared
as follows:

                                            Amount
             Source of funds              (millions)

       Department of Transportation          $2.1
       Department of Housing and
         Urban Development                    1.4
       Local units of government              1.2
       Michigan Department of State
         Highways                              .6
       Private agencies                        .1

           Total                             $5.4

The transportation elements of the study considered only
highway and mass-transit systems. In the continuing phase
of the planning process, however, area plans will be devel-
oped for consideration of harbors, airports, and railroad
facilities. The objectives of the continuing phase also
will be to refine the basic study data, develop financial
transportation and land-use plans for the area, and make
additional studies to keep the plans up to date.




                               11
URBAN PLANNING HAS LITTLE IMPACT IN
DIRECTING AREA DEVELOPMENT TOWARD
MOST DESIRABLE GROWTH PATTERNS

     SEMCOG's long-range objective was the preparation of a
plan that would guide future development of the Detroit met-
ropolitan area toward the best use of land from an economic,
environmental, and personal-choice standpoint and that would
include the consideration of transportation systems.

      This objective has not been achieved-even though con-
siderable time and significant amounts of funds have been
used to gather and evaluate much information in the develop-
ment of numerous plans for land use and for transportation
systems.   Because of the numerous types and levels of gov-
ernmental entities in the Detroit metropolitan area, each
having its own interests and objectives in developing the
area, SEMCOG's planners could not persuade the local govern-
ments to agree on a single plan of action for the entire
area.

Development and refinement of numerous plans
for land use and for transportation systems

     After gathering and studying extensive data on the re-
gion, SEMCOG's planners set out to develop a master plan
projecting where people would--and should--live and work by
1990 and the transportation systems that-would be needed to
serve them. Initially they established 50 concepts for al-
ternative growth patterns of the region. In 1968, after
considerable refinement, they chose five alternatives to
present to local government units and to area citizens.

     SEMCOG's planners presented the alternatives as repre-
senting what the area could look like with varying degrees
of control over land use. They depicted the projected
growth of the area if local communities (1) exercised only
minimal land-use controls, thereby continuing present growth
trends, (2) instituted new controls that would help to
achieve what SEMCOG's planners believed to be the most de-
sirable uses of the land, and (3) accepted various combina-
tions of these two growth patterns. The five alternative
plans were described by SEMCOG as follows:


                             12
"TREND--*** would allow a continuation of sprawl
     with low population densities in outlying
     areas. Improvement in public transporta-
     tion would be difficult and unlikely. The
     gobbling up of open space and potential
     recreation land would continue. Numerous
     small centers (shopping centers, office
     complexes, community colleges) of special-
     ized activity would spring up helter-
     skelter. Detroit and other older cities
     would decline as centers of activity, hin-
     dering urban renewal.

"MODIFIED TREND--*** somewhat similar to TREND,
     would mean slightly higher population den-
     sities in outlying areas. Not quite as
     much open space and potential recreation
     area would become urbanized. Improvements
     in public transportation would be limited
     almost entirely to increased bus service.
     Larger multi-purpose areas would replace
     many small activity centers. A somewhat
     higher pace or urban renewal activity in
     the older cities is implied.

"CENTERS--*** would result in a substantial de-
     parture from TREND. Most of the new ur-
     banization would occur in new towns or in
     multi-purpose centers, many formed around
     existing small clusters of urbanization.
     Most of the prime open space and recreation
     lands would be preserved for regional
     breathing space and for use by the people.
     Because of the higher population densities,
     cost per mile for sewer, water, and trans-
     portation services would be somewhat less.
     Transportation improvements would include
     a more extensive system with some rail
     transit. The rate of central city renewal
     activity would be more rapid. There would
     be fewer, larger, and more varied activity
     centers recentralizing some activity and
     jobs in Detroit and other central cities in
     the region.


                        13
     "CORRIDORS--*** would be similar in some effects
          to the CENTERS alternative, but would con-
          centrate new urbanization in corridors pro-
          viding more opportunities for better sewer
          and water and transportation services.
          This structural difference would support a
          more extensive public transportation system,
          including a much more extensive rail transit
          network. Since Detroit would be at the cen-
          ter and other older cities along the spokes
          of the transportation hub, a much more rapid
          rate of renewal and a greater degree of re-
          centralization of activity would take place
          in the older centers of the region.

     "NEW DIRECTIONS--*** would represent an almost
          complete reversal from TREND. It calls for
          much higher residential densities and only
          about half of the households in the region
          living in single-family homes compared with
          75 percent at present. In addition to the
          preservation of outlying open space and rec-
          reational lands, NEW DIRECTIONS would recap-
          ture Detroit's river-front acreage from ob-
          solete industrial uses to provide recreation
          opportunities closer to the center and per-
          mit some industrial renewal. An extensive
          public transportation system, much of it by
          rail, would provide increased mobility and
          aid in recentralizing activities in Detroit
          and older centers. Relatively few new ac-
          tivity centers would be built. Revitalized
          older downtowns would be more varied in ac-
          tivity and more accessible by public trans-
          portation as well as by automobile."

     In developing the land-use alternatives, the SEMCOG
planners did not develop separate transportation plans for
each of the growth patterns. Instead only two alternative
transportation plans (combinations of differing highway and
mass-transit systems) were considered.




                             14
Difficulties encountered in
obtaining agreement on a single
plan for urban development

     SEMCOG's planners had extensive discussions and public
meetings on the alternative plans with various groups--local
government officials, city and county planners, and general
citizens groups. SEMCOG's planners, however, could not per-
suade local governments to agree on any one plan. Disagree-
ment seemed to center on one basic issue--diminishment of lo-
cal government authority in the interest of areawide develop-
ment. The following examples illustrate this problem.

     --Alternative plans that provided for changes in the
       current growth trend were rejected because, in some
       cases, they conflicted with the plans and desires of
       the individual local units of government. For exam-
       ple, proposed use of land for recreation purposes
       might be beneficial to the area as a whole but not be
       consistent with the plans of the local governments.

     -- Alternative plans that provided for extensive rebuild-
        ing and renewal of the central city were generally op-
        posed by the suburbs, which favored alternatives that
        continued existing growth trends.

     Concluding that there was no prospect of agreement on
any one of the five alternative plans, SEMCOG's planners, in
August 1969 (about one year after the five alternatives were
proposed), developed a compromise transportation and land-use
plan for the year 1990. From each of the five alternatives,
SEMCOG's planners adapted elements they considered beneficial
and capable of being achieved. Emerging from this adaptation
was a tentative and preliminary plan generally reflecting the
desires of each local unit of government and some of the con-
cepts of SEMCOG's planners on what would be best for the en-
tire area.

     As an integral part of this compromise plan for urban
development, SEMCOG's planners set out in considerable de-
tail their recommendations for a balanced transportation sys-
tem for the area. The proposed system included extensions
of already planned highways and mass transit. It was based
primarily on current and projected transportation needs in


                             15
accordance with existing growth trends rather than on consid-
eration of how transportation could be used to influence the
most desirable urban growth.

     As of February 1971, however, the compromise plan had
not been approved as the official master plan for the area
and was being further revised. SEMCOG's planning director
said that, hopefully, by mid-1971 SEMCOG's members would
adopt the plan as a guideline for urban growth in southeast
Michigan. He acknowledged, however, that even if the plan
was adopted, SEMCOG had no authority to force individual com-
munities to comply. As of October 1971 the plan had not been
approved by SEMCOG's members.

     The planning director's views highlight significant
problems confronting any council of governments--the volun-
tary nature of membership and the lack of authority to re-
quire individual communities to comply with the plan. For
example, 144 of the 220 governmental units in the SEMCOG area
are not members. Consequently SEMCOG's goals for achieving
urban growth could be hampered, if not completely blocked, by
the views of, or lack of support by, these nonmember govern-
mental units.

     The reasons why the remaining 144 government units
have not joined SEMCOG seem to be as varied as the number of
units involved. In general, however, some units oppose
SEMCOG because they fear that it is the forerunner to a met-
ropolitan government which will smother the autonomy of local
governments and others are critical because it is not a met-
ropolitan government which they believe to be necessary for
the region.

Views of local officials
on impact of urban planning

     The tentative transportation and land-use plan for the
Detroit metropolitan area--the compromise approach developed
in August 1969--is a sophisticated, intricate proposal for
integrating land-use and transportation-system concepts.
Some of the more significant highlights of the plan are:

     -- Development of totally planned new towns, concentra-
        tions of urban activity in certain centers and along
        corridors, designation of recreation spaces and open

                              16
      spaces in both developed and undeveloped areas, and
      extensive rehabilitation and redevelopment of older
      areas.

     -- A net increase of 348 miles of freeways and 230 miles
        of major arteries; together with a 113-mile rapid-
        transit system, supplemented by and coordinated with
        an extensive unified regional bus system.

     To gain insight into the impact of this plan on improv-
ing urban life in the Detroit metropolitan area, we solicited
the opinions of various local government officials including
local and SEMCOG planners. Their opinions, as expressed to
us, confirm our observations that, although the planning pro-
cess has made, and may continue to make, some contribution
to urban growth, it will not have a major impact in directing
future area development toward what SEMCOG's planners believe
are the most desirable growth patterns for significantly im-
proving the quality of urban life.

     Several of the local government officials seemed to sum
up the problems with the following comments.

     "The compromise plan has not and probably will
     not achieve the objective of guiding future land
     use. The best land use pattern for the Detroit
     region includes accomplishment of social goals
     ntot acceptable to all the region's citizens."

     "Local government units have opposed acceptance
     of area-wide land use plans primarily because
     they have historically controlled land use and
     are unwilling to give up this right."

     "The plan does not represent much of a change
     from previous transportation plans or ideas.
     Many of the regional freeways proposed have been
     on the State Highway Department planning boards
     for many years and are well known by local of-
     ficials."

     "The highway network in the plan will probably
     get implemented because most of it has been pro-
     posed or committed for many years. The land use
     proposals will not be as fortunate."

                             17
                                       CHAPTER 3

        URBAN AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING NATIONWIDE
     Detroit's urban planning situation may be indicative of
problems confronting many other major urban areas. Our lim-
ited inquiries into the governmental structure of other met-
ropolitan areas and a recent DOT nationwide evaluation of
transportation planning seems to confirm this observation.
INQUIRIES INTO GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURES
IN OTHER METROPOLITAN AREAS
     Governmental structures in major metropolitan areas
typically consist of numerous independent political units,
each having control over land use, and, in some cases, trans-
portation systems, within its boundaries. Our inquiries
into 15 urban areas, in addition to the Detroit area, have
shown that each area has a complex system of many autonomous
governmental units sharing authority and responsibility for
area growth.
     Although all 15 metropolitan areas have councils of
governments or other forms of regional planning agencies,
memberships are voluntary and, in most instances, only lim-
ited numbers of the independent political units are members.
In each of the 15 areas, regional planners are confronted
with the significant political complexities of getting agree-
ment on areawide plans from numerous governmental units.
     Information provided to us in February 1971 by the re-
gional planning commissions of the 15 metropolitan areas is
presented below.
                                 Number of Independent Political Units
                                         as of February 1971

                                                                  Members of coun-
                                                                  cil of government
             Metropolitan area                Total units             (note a)

          Atlanta, Georgia                         48                      6
          Baltimore, Maryland                      20                      6
          Boston, Massachusetts                   100                     76
          Cincinnati, Ohio                        275                    100
          Cleveland, Ohio                         233                    141
          Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas                142                    107
          Denver, Colorado                         40                     30
          Houston, Texas                          101                     62
          Kansas City, Missouri                   108                     12
          Philadelphia, Pennsylvania              362                     12
          Portland, Oregon                         42                     27
          San Francisco, California               100                     93
          Seattle, WaShington                      72                     22
          St. Louis, Missouri                     481                    117
          Washington, D.C.                         66                     15

          aOr regional planning agency or commission.



                                             18
     We believe that, because of the numerous political
units in the metropolitan areas and the voluntary nature of
the councils of government, the major problem observed in
the Detroit area--getting numerous independent political
units to agree to a plan of action which may be beneficial
to the area as a whole but which may be detrimental to the
individual units--may also exist in other metropolitan areas.

EVALUATIONS OF URBAN PLANNING

     DOT began a study early in 1970 of the effectiveness of
the transportation planning process under the Federal-Aid
Highway Act of 1962. The objective of this study was to de-
termine ways and means of improving the effectiveness of
such planning. As of October 1971 the results of the study
were being reviewed within DOT.

     DOT obtained detailed information on urban planning by
sending questionnaires to 40 mayors, 25 councils of govern-
ment, 50 State highway departments, and 211 urban transpor-
tation planning agencies. On the basis of responses to the
questionnaires (96 percent) and of visits by DOT officials
to selected urban areas, the DOT study group has tentatively
concluded that:

     -- Although the planning process has produced substan-
        tial benefits, it has not promoted the use of trans-
        portation systems as a means of achieving desirable
        urban goals for land use, growth patterns, and life-
        styles (improving the quality of urban life).

     --A new concept of urban transportation planning, em-
       phasizing transportation systems as an urban develop-
       ment-tool, is badly needed.

     The DOT study group plans to use the information obtained
during its studies to recommend that DOT develop a concept
for the ideal urban transportation planning process at the
metropolitan level, taking into consideration all modes of
transportation--air, water, mass transit, highways, and
railroads. The study group plans also to recommend the con-
solidation of the transportation planning functions within
DOT to develop a national urban transportation planning as-
sistance program.

                             19
     HUD has not made an evaluation of the total urban plan-
ning assistance program authorized by the Housing Act of
1954. It has, however, had studies made on the effectiveness
of urban planning activities in cities with less than 50,000
population.

     It appears that the conclusions drawn from these stud-
ies are equally applicable to major metropolitan areas of
more than 50,000 population. In a report on the studies,
dated October 1969, the consultants who made the studies for
HUD pointed out that the HUD planning grants had stimulated
planning in many small communities throughout the Nation
but had been only moderately effective as a tool for guiding
and implementing public policies in small communities.

     The consultants pointed out also that one of the factors
contributing to the ineffectiveness of the planning activi-
ties sponsored by HUD was the inherent difficulty in coordi-
nating the actions of a variety of National, State, and local
agencies having distinct and often conflicting interests.
Other problems which contributed to this situation were as-
sociated with the state of the art in urban planning, the
leadership at the local level, and the capacity of local ad-
ministrators to deal with complex and crucial urban issues.

     The consultants made several recommendations for improv-
ing the effectiveness of the planning programs in small
cities. Some of these recommendations were adopted by HUD
and others were being evaluated for later implementation.
These recommendations were concerned primarily with (1) pro-
viding greater emphasis on the social, economic, and admin-
istrative problems of communities, (2) handling urgent,
short-range issues, (3) increasing the roles of the States
in the administration of urban planning programs, and (4)
streamlining administrative procedures at Federal and State
levels.




                            20
                         CHAPTER 4

                      AGENCY COMMENTS

     In a draft report submitted to the Secretaries of
Transportation and Housing and Urban Development for comment,
we proposed that DOT and HUD revise their urban planning
guidelines, to more clearly set forth the planning objec-
tives required in the 1970 legislation and to assist plan-
ning agencies in devising methods that will help overcome
local opposition to areawide plans.

     The Assistant Secretary for Administration, DOT, and
the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Manage-
ment, HUD, commented on the draft report by letters dated
June 21 and May 27, 1971, respectively. These letters are
included in this report as appendixes I and II.

     In commenting on our proposal, DOT stated that the
Federal Highway Administration was revising its Policy and
Procedures Memorandum to include the planning objectives
set forth in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970. This act
states that no highway project may be constructed in any
urban area with a population of 50,000 or more unless the
views of the public officials of these areas have been con-
sidered with respect to the corridor, location, and design
of the project.

     DOT stated also that the Federal Aviation Administration
and the Urban Mass Transportation Administration were pre-
paring planning assistance guidelines to reflect 1970 leg-
islation requiring that the two agencies conduct public
hearings to obtain the views of public officials and of the
public before any project could be approved. DOT stated
further that various methods were being considered to help
overcome local opposition to areawide plans.

     HUD agreed that improvements in the process of planning
and the implementation of urban development plans were de-
sirable and stated that, for this and related reasons, sev-
eral HUD policy changes were contained in legislation pro-
posed to the Congress in 1971. Several other legislative
proposals dealing with land-use and areawide planning were


                             21
also being considered by the Congress. These legislative
proposals place emphasis on (1) making planning an integral
part of the management process, (2) focusing planning au-
thority on elected officials, and (3) emphasizing the im-
portance of the State as a coordinative agency.

     These legislative proposals generally will provide a
stimulus for more effective urban planning at the State,
local, and area levels. Certain of the proposals provide
for (1) State-wide development plans, seeking to integrate
all-important elements of community development including
designations of potential growth areas and new community
development sites, and (2) standards for determining com-
munities, or groups of communities, to be considered to-
gether as single localities for purposes of establishing
and carrying out local and areawide programs.

     Each of the proposals would provide Federal funds for
activities that will aid in the attainment of specified
State and local objectives relating to governmental opera-
tion, land use, housing, and areawide and intergovernmental
coordination.

     In commenting on our draft report, DOT stated that
there were examples of metropolitan planning agencies in
other metropolitan areas which contrasted with the situa-
tion in Detroit, and it cited the metropolitan council of
the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota) as
such an example. HUD referred to this council as an exam-
ple of a more effective planning agency.

     The Twin Cities Metropolitan Council has planning and
implementing authority over areawide sewer and solid-waste-
disposal needs and over open-space land acquisition. The
plans of several independent commissions, boards, or agen-
cies--such as transportation (other than highways and air-
ports), mosquito control, conservation, and watersheds--
must be approved by the council before thay can be put into
effect.

     If the plans of these agencies do not fit within the
council's metropolitan development guide for the area, it
has the authority to veto the plans. In addition, the
council has authority to establish zoning criteria in the


                            22
vicinity of airports which the individual communities must
adhere to, and thus the council controls the type of devel-
opment which can take place.

     The council received its planning and implementing au-
thority from the Minnesota Legislature over a period of
years. According to a DOT official, the council's author-
ity is unique among regional planning agencies throughout
the Nation. Members of the council represent each of 14
equal population districts and are appointed by the Governor
of the State. Thus the council represents the people of
the area, not individual political subdivisions, as is the
case with SEMCOG in the Detroit metropolitan area.

     Granting implementing authority to the metropolitan
council apparently resulted from recognition by the people
of the Twin Cities metropolitan area that certain problems
areawide or metropolitan in scope, could not be handled ef-
ficiently or effectively on an individual community basis
by the more than 300 independent communities in the metro-
politan area.

     In our opinion the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council
does offer a distinct contrast to the situation in Detroit.
As stated earlier, the council is unique in its makeup and
authority and is not representative of the planning activi-
ties in other metropolitan areas. Therefore we believe
that the situation in Detroit is more representative of met-
ropolitan planning agencies and indicates a need for both
DOT and HUD to revise their planning guidelines.

     Both DOT and HUD, in commenting on our report, pointed
out that, although only 76 of the 200 local units of govern-
ment in the SEMCOG area were members, such a statement was
misleading in that it implied a more significant lack of
local support than actually existed. DOT stated that the
76 units of government included all the counties and the
largest cities. Also HUD stated that 100 percent of the
area's population is represented because some of the vil-
lages and townships which are not members of SEMCOG are rep-
resented through their county government.

     We recognize that 100 percent of the people in the
Detroit metropolitan area may be represented in SEMCOG


                             23
through one unit of government or another. The fact re-
mains, however, that the 144 units of government that do
not belong control land use and transportation within their
boundaries. Their agreement on an areawide master plan is
necessary before such a plan can be meaningful. Without
such agreement these units of government can use land under
their jurisdiction in a manner that may not be consistent
with the overall master plan.

     HUD commented that our draft report placed much empha-
sis on the control over land use to implement planning ob-
jectives, as a measure of success in areawide planning. It
stated that, if an areawide strategy were agreed upon, the
control over land use would be only one means to secure its
implementation. It stated also that other means for secur-
ing the implementation of a plan included control over area-
wide facilities, such as transportation, power supplies,
and sewer and water facilities.

     We agreed that other means are available to help
achieve a desired growth pattern besides the control over
land use. A major problem with urban and related trans-
portation planning noted in this report, however, centers
on getting the numerous independent units of government to
agree on an areawide strategy or a master plan for future
growth. Once this obstacle is overcome, several means can
be adopted to help ensure its implementation.

     We are not suggesting the adoption of any particular
method. This is the responsibility of State and local gov-
ernments and is dependent upon the circumstances in each
metropolitan area. We believe that, until agreement can be
reached on the master plans for metropolitan areas, debates
on the methods of implementation are academic.

     HUD also pointed out that HUD- and DOT-supported plan-
ning activities had a much broader impact than that indi-
cated by our draft report. HUD stated that the planning
assistance programs in HUD and DOT are supportive of area-
wide planning efforts required under several Federal pro-
grams as prerequisites for Federal grants. HUD stated also
that, in addition to statutory planning requirements for
specific implementation programs (grants for highways;
mass-transit systems; water, sewer, and waste treatment


                            24
facilities; and open-space land), the Intergovernmental Co-
operation Act of 1968 and the Office of Management and Bud-
get Circular No. A-95 extended the influence of the area-
wide planning agencies to a large array of Federal assis-
tance programs.

     We agreed that areawide planning is a prerequisite for
Federal grants under many programs and thus would have a
broad impact on the metropolitan areas. The awarding of
Federal program grants in consonance with, or to help imple-
ment, areawide plans is surely better than the fragmented
approach of programs in prior years.

     We believe, however, that the lack of an approved
area plan--as in Detroit--tends to diminish the effective-
ness of Federal grants for an area. Conversely, an ap-
proved plan tends to increase the effectiveness of Federal
grants. A good example of this was cited by HUD in its
May 27, 1971, letter, in which it pointed out that the
Worcester, Massachusetts, metropolitan area would apparently
save $10 million by installing an areawide sewer system
rather than each municipality installing its own.

     DOT stated that the conclusion in our draft report
that urban planning had little impact in directing areas
toward the most desirable growth patterns was a highly con-
troversial point, considering the general lack of consensus
on what desirable growth patterns really were. We recognize
that there is considerable controversy over the definition
of desirable growth patterns. As HUD points out in its
comments, a desired growth pattern in some communities may
be what the community wants to happen, even if it amounts
to no more than a continuation and affirmation of existing
trends.

     In our view desired growth trends involve alterations
of existing trends to provide for a more orderly and inte-
grated growth of the community. This lack of consensus on
future growth within a metropolitan area is the central
point of our report. Unless agreement on the most desirable
growth trend can be reached by the people of a metropolitan
area, the development of plans by planning agencies will not
have a major impact on the future development of the area.


                             25
                         CHAPTER 5

                        CONCLUSIONS

     There is considerable debate--both in and out of Gov-
ernment--as to whether urban growth should be controlled
and directed and, if so, to what extent. The control of
land use is one of the main methods for directing growth
and altering existing trends which have caused urban sprawl.
Transportation systems, as well as water and sewer systems
and utilities, can also be used as tools to help shape de-
sired growth patterns.

     We believe that the urban planning situation in De-
troit--and possibly in urban areas nationwide--indicates
that such planning may not be having a major impact in di-
recting future area development toward what areawide plan-
ners believe are the most desirable growth patterns for sig-
nificantly improving the quality of urban life. The primary
reason for this situation is the inherent difficulty in get-
ting numerous independent political units to agree on a
plan of action which, although beneficial to the area as a
whole, may be detrimental to the aims of some individual
units.

     Also contributing to problems in urban planning has
been a lack of specifics in both legislation and agency
guidelines as to what is desired from urban planning. Be-
fore December 1970 legislation and guidelines from both DOT
and HUD allowed planning agencies to develop alternative
area plans, ranging from probable growth trends in the
event present trends continue to probable growth trends in
the event controls were instituted to direct growth in the
interests of the area as a whole. In amending the Housing
Act in December 1970, we believe that the Congress specifi-
cally set out what it intends to achieve through urban
planning--development of plans for guiding and controlling
major decisions as to where growth should take place.

     Both HUD and DOT recognized that improvements were
needed in urban and transportation planning activities. In
this regard HUD policy changes were included in the 1971
legislation before the Congress and DOT was revising its
implementing instructions concerning planning grants. DOT

                            26
was also considering various methods to help overcome local
opposition to areawide plans.

     In certain respects the various legislative proposals
now being considered by the Congress should help solve the
problems noted during our review and help accomplish the
planning objectives required under the 1970 legislation.
Continuous efforts, by both HUD and DOT however, will be re-
quired to help overcome local opposition to the areawide
plans.




                            27
                         CHAPTER 6

                      SCOPE OF REVIEW

     Our review was directed toward determining what prog-
ress had been made in urban and transportation planning,
the extent to which such planning had been used to help
achieve future desired growth and development, and what
problems hampered the effectiveness of the planning process.

     We examined into the roles that HUD and DOT played in
the planning process, and we reviewed the legislation, pol-
icies, and procedures guiding the planning activities. We
examined also into the planning activities as they were be-
ing carried out at the State level in Michigan and at the
local level in the Detroit metropolitan area.

     We interviewed Federal officials in Washington, D.C.,
and Chicago, Illinois, who were responsible for planning ac-
tivities in Michigan; State officials responsible for State-
wide urban and transportation planning; and urban planners,
mayors, city managers, and planning consultants in the De-
troit metropolitan area.

     Limited inquiries for specific information were made
regarding other selected major metropolitan areas through-
out the Nation. We examined into a study made for HUD on
the effectiveness of urban planning activities in cities
with less than 50,000 population and into the results of a
nationwide evaluation of the planning process carried out
by DOT.




                             28
APPENDIXES




  29
                                                                    APPENDIX I



                      OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
                                 WASHINGTON, D.C.   20590


ASSSTANT SECRTAIY
 FORAV1 NIISTRATiON



                                                                  June 21, 1971

Mr. Richard W. Kelley
Assistant Director
Civil Division
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C.   20545

Dear Mr. Kelley:

This is in response to your request for comments on the General
Accounting Office draft report to the Congress on "Progress and
Problems of Urban and Transportation Planning."

Your report recommends that the Department of Transportation (DOT)
(l) revise its urban planning guidelines to more clearly set forth
the planning objectives required under the 1970 legislation and
(2) assist planning agencies in devising methods that will help
overcome local opposition to area-wide' plans.

The Federal Highway Administration is revising its-planning
guidelines and will issue a revise-d Policy and Procedures Memorandum
50-9, Urban Transportation Planning, that will include the planning
objectives set forth in the Federal Highway Act of 1970. The
Federal Aviation and Urban Mass Transportation Administrations
of DOT are also preparing planning assistance guidelines to re-
flect 1970 legislation.  We.are also considering various methods
to help overcome local opposition to area-wide plans.

It should be noted that there are other metropolitan planning
agencies, such as in the Twin Cities of Minnesota that offer
direct contrast to-the Detroit situation, highlighted in your
report.  The Twin Cities Metropolitan Council created by the
Minnesota legislature and given broad mandatory review powers is
designed to be a metropolitan agency equipped with both planning
and implementation power.

The statement th-at only 76 of 220 local units of government have
chosen to become members of South East Michigan Council of
Government (SEMCOG) implies a more significant lack of local




                                               31
APPENDIX I




 support than actually exists.  It would be fair to point out
 that these 76 units of government include all the counties
 and the largest cities. Those agencies that have implement-
 ing authority for capital improvement of regional significance
 are also included.

 The conclusion that urban planning has little impact in
 directing area development toward the most desirable growth
 patterns is a highly controversial point, given the general
 lack of consensus on what "desirable growth patterns" really
 are.
 We appreciate the opportunity to comment on this report.
                                    Sincerely,




                                    William S. Heffelfinger




                               32
                                                                    APPENDIX II



   ;         oZ
            h*         DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
             e\4>   11111ll,4:'         WASHINGTON, D. C. 20410




       ASSiSTANT SECRETARY FOR                                    MAY 2 7 1971
COMMUNITY   PLANNING   AND MANAGEMENT




       Mr. Baltas Eo Birkle
       Assistant Director
       U. S. General Accounting Office
       Washington, D. C. 20548

       Dear Mr. Birkle:

       Thank you for your letter to Secretary Romney providing us with the
       opportunity to review the March 1971 draft General Accounting Office
       report on "Progress and Problems of Urban and Transportation Planning."
       We have reviewed the draft in detail and appreciate the difficulty
       encountered in evaluating the impact of urban and transportation planning.
       Planning involves relationships between various land uses and facilities
       as well as relationships among agencies of government, private interests
       and the public. As such, there are various levels and functions of
       planning and implementation responsibilities, but the GAO draft report
       focuses almost exclusively on one scale of planning, that of metropolitan
       or areawide.

       The draft report does not appear to recognize adequately the complexities
       of conflicting objectives, pluralistic interests, as well as the frag-
       mentation of planning and governmental processes at the areawide scale.
       Three major aspects of the draft report concern us:

       1.    Method of Measuring Planning Success

            The report places much emphasis on the control over land use to
            implement planning objectives as a measure of success of areawide
            planning. Control over land use is an important element in achieving
            a desired land use strategy; equally important, if not more so,
            are the supporting plans and implementing processes for regional
            shaping facilities, such as transportation, power supplies, sewer
            and water facilities. If an areawide strategy were agreed upon, the
            control over land use would be only one means to securing its imple-
            mentation. Land use controls are particularly fragmented in
            metropolitan areas, and there are only a few examples where regional




                                                3
 APPENDIX II



     agencies exercise limited degrees of land use control. The
     Metropolitan Council on the Twin Cities area, for example, has control
     over development in the environs of new airports.

     There are other ways to evaluate planning "successes." Even in the
     Detroit example, further exploration of the agency's activities would
     indicate its role and influence in implementing plans by other
     regional agencies, such as the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority.

2.   Planning Assistance - Planning Requirement Relationships

     The planning assistance programs in HUD and DOT are supportive of
     areawide planning efforts required under several Federal programs
     as a prerequisite for a Federal grant. Prior to a DOT Highway or
     Mass Transit grant, HUD water, sewer or open space grant or an EPA
     Waste Treatment Construction grant, planning has to be underway or
     completed, and the Federally-assisted project must be found to be
     consistent with the planning. The appropriate Federally-assisted
     projects therefore contribute to the implementation of the required
     planning prepared at the local or state level. Both Federal and
     local expenditures are more effectively used when made in accordance
     with such planning. In the Worcester, Massachusetts metropolitan
     area, for example, a saving of $10 million would result by using
     an areawide approach in the installation of its sewerage system instead
     of the $34 million individual municipality approach.

     In addition to the statutory planning requirements for these specific
     implementation programs, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act of 1968
     as administered via OMB Circular A-95, extends the influence of the
     areawide planning agencies to a much larger array of Federal assistance
     programs. In most instances, the HUD and DOT supported areawide
     planning agencies are also the designated clearinghouses under A-95,
     and the HUD-DOT supported planning activities therefore have a much
     broader impact than would otherwise be indicated by the draft report.

3.   Use of a Single Planning Example

     Most of the draft report focuses on the urban and transportation
     planning process under the Transportation and Land Use Study, established
     by the Detroit Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Commission,
     now organized as the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG).
     We believe that any attempted evaluation of the progress and
     problems of urban and transportation planning should be more sub-
     stantive and include a sample of areas, or have some rational basis
     for the selection of a single area, Since the emphasis is on the




                                        34
                                                             APPENDIX II


    Detroit experience in obtaining an agreement, or lack of it, on
    a single land use alternative, it would also be advisable to
    investigate the other numerous products and results from the
    planning process.

Despite our reservations about the kind of analysis presented in the draft
report, we would agree that improvements in the process of planning and its
implementation are desirable. For this and related reasons, a number of
policy changes are proposed in HUD's 1971 legislation. Title II, for
example, places emphasis on: a) making planning an integral part of the
management process; b) focusing planning authority on elected officials;
and c) emphasizing the importance of the State as a coordinative agency.

We have detailed comments on specific portions of the report; they are
listed by page on the enclosure. If we can provide you with additional
information, please let me know.

                                             Sincerely,



                                        t/   Samuel C. Jackson

Enclosures    [See GAO note]




  GAO note:   These enclosures are not included in this report.




                                   35
APPENDIX III


                       PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS

                RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTRATION OF

               ACTIVITIES DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT


                                             Tenure of office
                                             From          To

       DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN
  DEVELOPMENT:
    George W. Romney                   Jan.     1969    Present
    Robert C. Wood                     Jan.     1969    Jan. 1969
    Robert C. Weaver                   Feb.     1961    Dec. 1968


                 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION:
    John A. Volpe                     Jan.     1969     Present
    Alan S. Boyd                      Apr.     1967     Jan. 1969




                               36                  U.S GAO, Wash., D.C.